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Mason leads Duquesne over St. Louis on Senior Day

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Duquesne extended their home winning streak to four games on Senior Day, winning 79-66 over St. Louis behind 20 points from Micah Mason.

PITTSBURGH - “I think we’re starting to show our potential,” head coach Jim Ferry said. “Everybody’s fighting for something right now...and I think the team’s getting better.”

Duquesne recognized junior Christian Johnston and lone senior Dominique McKoy before the game. McKoy was one of five Dukes in double-figures, as he finished with 12 points and five boards in 28 minutes.

“(The ceremony) really didn’t affect my performance,” McKoy said. “I just tried to come out and play hard. I was really excited before the game, so I just tried to calm down and just let the game come to me.”

The Dukes were able to set the tempo early thanks to the play of Mason After a behind the back assist to Derrick Colter, Mason logged a steal and layup during a 14-0 Dukes run that he capped with a 3-pointer to make it 19-6 with 13:13 left in the first half.

The Billikens gradually chipped away at the lead and caught Duquesne thanks to 6-6 freshman forward Malik Yarbrough. Yarbrough shot 6-of-7 from the field for 12 points in the first half, and with his layup at 3:13, St. Louis took a 32-30 lead.

Duquesne regained the lead, and with a bucket from downtown by L.G. Gill at the buzzer, the Dukes went into the half up 40-33.

Yarbrough and teammate Marcus Bartley went into the half with a dozen points each, but outside of their combined 10-11 from the field in the half, the rest of the team went 2-15. Mason went into the half with 11 points and four assists, and forward Jeremiah Jones, despite shooting just 3-9, also reached double digits with 10.

Duquesne opened the second half in a similar fashion to the first, and behind a pair of 3-pointers from Gill, the Dukes built a 17-point lead with just under 11 minutes to go.

The Billikens went on a run and pulled within single digits after a tip-in from Reggie Agbeko, but Mason shifted momentum back in Duquesne’s favor with another 3-pointer, his fourth of the night, to extend the lead to 61-49 with 7:13 remaining.

In their game against St. Louis, Duquesne shot themselves in the foot with 21 missed free-throws in a single-digit loss on the road. Wednesday night, they hit the shots they needed to from the line, going a perfect 12-12 in the second half.

“I didn’t make (free-throw shooting) a mental issue,” Ferry said on the improvement. “We did the same thing: we just shoot them.”

Four of those free throws came from McKoy, who took control of the game late, scoring 6 points in the last four minutes to clinch the win.

The Billikens’ Yarbrough tied Mason with a game-high 20 points, while the Dukes’ Jones matched a career high with 16. It’s the third time in the last five games that Mason logged at least 20.

Colter, despite putting up 12 points, went 0-6 from behind the arc. Ash Yocoubou, who logged a double-double in the first meeting between these two for St. Louis, ended the night with four points and rebounds and went 0-8 from the field.

Johnston, a Shaler graduate, appeared in the last minute of the game and missed his two shots from the field.

The Dukes improve to 10-16 on the year and 5-10 in the Atlantic 10 conference, putting them on the cusp of moving them to 10th in the conference and earning a bye in the first play-in of the tournament. St. Louis falls to 11-17 and 3-12. Duquesne will travel to St. Bonaventure for their next contest on Saturday.

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